The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (the CDC) has always been a network. It’s role is important and impressive. But can disease surveillance be accomplished in new ways?
An interesting site is http://www.whoissick.org, where people stricken by illnesses major or minor can register their conditions. Not every individual report is reliable, of course, and a commune of hypochondriacs could really distort the data, but it’s a pretty interesting mash-up.
A more robust map mash-up (HealthMap) from the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program in Boston follows the news, so the reports are more legitimate and well-described.
If widely adopted and used, these types of sites – both automated and social networked – could change how epidemiology occurs, and what we look at before we plan a trip (i.e., nervous about going to Fluville?).